A man who referred to a Powys wife killer while threatening to slice his partner’s throat with a pocketknife.

Gareth Probert, 33, also punched his partner in the face causing her to bleed while she held their toddler, telling her she was not allowed to leave the house alive.

The judge called his conduct a "sickening series" of domestic abuse at their home in Presteigne.

The victim said living with Probert was "mental torture" and she now struggles to live with the guilt of her children seeing the attacks.

Sentencing Probert to two years in prison for making threats to kill and actual bodily harm, His Honour Judge Niclas Parry said: "This is a case all about control and domestic violence in the truest sense.


"The impact of domestic violence on children is well known but boys grow up to believe that is normal conduct and this court hears time and again about defendants coming from homes with violence."

Mold Crown Court heard that in June 2021, Probert had returned home drunk when the couple argued about him not being around more.

Prosecuting barrister David Maidstone said Probert became angry and screamed in his partner's face, punched the wall by her head then took out a pocket knife, held it to her neck, and threatened to kill her by slicing her throat.

County Times: Hollie Kerrell, 28, was a mother of threeHollie Kerrell, 28, was a mother of three

County Times: Christopher Llewellyn Kerrell (35) from Whitton near KnightonChristopher Llewellyn Kerrell (35) from Whitton near Knighton

The court heard Probert had referenced his former co-worker Christopher Kerrell who was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of his 28-year-old wife Hollie Kerrell in the Knighton area in 2018.

A week after the knife incident, Probert tried to reconcile with his partner, texting her to apologise and promise never to repeat his threats.

But the court heard that in October 2022 the reconciled couple had been to a children's party when Probert was dropped off at a pub. Arriving home at around 10pm, hours after his partner said he'd need to be home for a steak dinner, Probert became angry and threw a pizza at a wall causing the plate to smash.

Mr Maidstone, prosecuting, said the victim "froze and tried to make herself small as possible".

When she then refused to get chips from the shop, Probert ripped her T-shirt by grabbing it at the scruff before dragging her off the sofa and into the dining room.

One of their children wanted to ring the police, but Probert threw the phone, smashing it.

Probert grabbed his partner by the throat and pushed her against the wall and screamed that she was "not allowed to leave alive".

He then pretended to punch his victim, before striking her and splitting the skin near her eye, leaving blood running down her face.

Mr Maidstone said Probert "seemed he was in shock" by what had happened and was "so sorry".

The prosecutor added that Probert mocked his partner and told her to "man up" and that he'd suffered much worse.

Mr Maidstone said the victim recalls needing to defuse the situation and asking everyone to calm down, adding "she promised him the world". The court then heard Probert had later repeatedly punched his partner's hip while they were sleeping in bed.

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From that day, Probert followed his partner around and she was only allowed to leave the house to collect the children from school.

The court heard the victim was too afraid to report what had happened, but it was reported to a health worker by a family member.

Probert denied all the allegations claiming that an injury he had suffered to his hand made him physically weak. Explaining to police about text messages "threatening to do a Kerrell" on several occasions, Probert said he was going along with "her silly games and hoping to get back with her".

Myles Wilson, defending, told the court: "What you won't be aware of are the thousands of text messages - 99 per cent are affectionate in both directions.

"Given the offence is two years old and the relationship resumed and continued for over a year, it seems it was a short incident and blew up quickly."

Mr Wilson added that the second incident "seems like a fairly impulsive, spontaneous incident that escalated quickly".

The court was also told that there were two sides to Probert who was described as a "hardworking" employee, who had been in a car crash in January 2022, seriously affecting his right arm.

After Probert's 146 days on remand in prison, Mr Wilson said: "Now he has had his first taste of prison. He has found it difficult. He's a fish out of water coming from a rural background."

Sentencing Probert, of Sydney Road, Ludlow, Judge Parry said: "This was, and I can’t think of a better word than, a sickening series of offending.

"It is heartrending to hear children that age running to help their mother watching her being attacked."

He added: "You’re a good, highly regarded worker. You’ve not experienced custody before and I can appreciate from someone of your background it is a shocking experience."

Probert was also given a restraining order.